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Story Archives: West still on call in MLB
|West still on call in MLB|
While the baseball nation sang the praises of World Series Game No. 6 last week, it was not a game Major League umpire Joe West would want to work.
"I want a 2-1 Steve Carlton versus Tom Seaver game, that's what I want," said West, who began umpiring in the National League in 1976.
West will be in Natchez Thursday and Friday for the Celebrity Players Golf Outing to benefit the Natchez Children's Home.
"I just enjoy giving back," said West, who participated in the Celebrity Golf Outing two years ago, arriving just after the final game (Game 6) of the 2009 World Series. "Nancy (Hungerford) works so hard to make that work. I have a fond feeling for the kids there. They are like part of my family."
West worked the National League Divisional series between Milwaukee and Arizona this year.
"The players are bigger, stronger and faster, but the way the game is played is still the same," he said. "The team that plays like a team is the one that wins. The Cardinals are not the best team by a long shot, but once they got into it they played like a team. They have one big guy (Albert Pujols) and a bunch of little guys who play their hearts out."
West, who turned 59 Monday, worked in the in 1976 and from 1978 to 1999. In 1999, he was among 22 umpires, whom the union claimed were illegally terminated when they engaged in a failed mass resignation strategy. Through arbitration and successful appeals it was ordered that he be rehired by MLB in 2002 and has worked throughout both major leagues since that time. In less than three months, he was promoted to a crew chief position.
Nicknamed "Cowboy Joe," West is also known for being a singer/songwriter. He has served as crew chief in 2005. He has officiated in seven and 5 Division Series. As of the 2011 season, West is Major League Baseball's most senior umpire.
As President for the World Umpires Association, West and the union's Governing Board (with the help of Union Negotiator Brian Lam) negotiated the largest contract in the history of Major League Baseball for their umpires. The contract runs from 2010 through the 2014 season.
"There are 15 phone calls I had to make one day last week, so I stay pretty busy, even after the season," West said. "I lost 50 pounds playing golf and getting out and doing things."
West cannot comment on instant replay, but has some strong feelings about the NBA lockout.
"The biggest thing is that the lockout is that the players and owners will not get hurt," West said. "They'll come back and make money. The people who get hurt are the little people like the ushers and vendors or those kids working games to supplement their income for school. The owners and players make plenty of money. They are arguing over two percent of revenue. Umpires make one-half of one percent of what baseball players make, but we make a fair living and have decent pension. All we have to do is look at the economy. They need to lock every one involved in one room and get is settled."
West has umpired games for 32 different Hall of Fame Players and nine members of the Hall that were managers during his career.
During his career he's also worked with two Hall of Fame Umpires.
"I love it," he said. "I'm going to continue doing it until my legs go out."
The Natchez Children's Home Services Celebrity Golf Outing will be held Thursday and Friday at Beau Pre Golf and Country Club.
The celebrity players include Ray Guy, Ray Perkins, Hoyle Granger, Kenny Wildbur, Greg Bonin, Joe West, Mike Siani, Rick Seratte, KIER, Kelly Edge, John McGough, Brian Leach and Steve Thomas.
On Thursday, Nov. 3, a buffet supper will be held at Grand Soleil Hotel Vue Restaurant.
At 7 p.m., the pairings party will be held with a silent and live auction.
KIER will provide entertainment at 8 p.m., followed by the pairings being announced.
On Friday, the celebrities will visit Natchez Children's Home Services. At 10:30 a.m., a trick shot demonstration will be held at 10:30 a.m.
Following an 11 a.m. lunch, the celebrity-amateur tournament at noon. The awards presentation will be held at 5 p.m.
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